The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch – A Lecture from the Heart to Whom He Loves

Given Randy Pausch’s medical condition, it is astonishing that he is able to publish a book (with the help of Jeffrey Zaslow).  Randy delivered the now famous “Last Lecture” last September when he was told to have only a few months to live.  A while back, I wrote a brief summary on his “Last Lecture” and if you like what you read, this little book (206 pages, 61 chapters, paperback) will certainly inspire.

In my previous blog entry, I have covered Randy Pausch’s background, his positive outlook, and how inspiring he is.  Hence, I won’t repeat myself here.  The objective of the book is exactly the same as the objective of his lecture as seen in the video linked in my last entry.

“The Last Lecture” is organized in six sections and it is far from being a depressing book to read.  In the first section, Randy Pausch touches onto his medical condition, how he and his family is coping with his aggressive cancer treatment, and why he is doing this – the lecture and now this book.

In the second section “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”, Randy shares with us what some of his wild childhood dreams are and how he really went all out to achieve them.  Some he has attained, some he hasn’t.  It is inspiring to read how a goal focused person he is and how he walks the talk of brick walls are there to proof how badly we want things.

The section “Adventures and Lessons Learnt” probably contains the highest dosage of heart warming moments – a section dedicated to his mentor, his love story with his wife Jai, his and his sister’s children.

In one of John C. Maxwell’s seminar I have attended, his vision of the highest order of success is to make others to be more successful.  Here in Randy Pausch’s book, he has devoted a section on how to enable the dreams of others.  This section may cause you to reflect upon the things that you do and the person you think you are.

30 topics are packed in the second last section “It’ About How You Live Your Life” and they are a lot to be absorbed in the first read.  You may become a better person who constantly show gratitude and always tell the truth; you may take on a new attitude towards your job; you may even want to be the ‘first penguin’ who dares to head for the potential ‘glorious failure’.

This entire book is by and large kept to a tone of positivity and optimism.  To keep it real, you will also get to read about the emotional vulnerable side of Randy and his wife Jai.  The short final section “Final Remarks” is probably one that fills with heartfelt moments and to remind us that there is a bigger picture in life out there, at times beyond us.

I can imagine some readers may find his ideas too hard to achieve.  But here is my observation: You will get to read how he lives what he writes and from within his book, how the people around him succeed in doing so.  My question is: If other can, why can’t you?  The journey to achieving your dream is not going to be easy.  That’s why we have to work hard for it.

Related blog entry: Last Lecture of Randy Pausch – How to Live Your Life

Last Lecture Of Randy Pausch – How To Live Your Life

Randy Pausch

Hypothetically, if you knew that you were going to die and you had one last lecture, what would you say to your students?  It is an academic tradition of Professor Randy Pausch’s University to give a “last lecture” to the students except it was not just a tradition in his case; he is actually dying from cancer and only has months to live.  My friend from work, SF, has forwarded a YouTube video to me and in this Oprah episode, Randy Pausch talked about our childhood dreams, how to achieve them, and in essence, how to live our lives.  And he gave the lecture for only three persons in this world (the answer is in the video).  If you have 10 minutes to spare, you may wish to follow the link below and be inspired.  Below are the summarized points.

  • It is an easy time to dream when we are young (and happy) and we should never lose that spirit.
  • Experience is what you get if you don’t get what you wanted.
  • When people drive you hard, they care about you.  They want you to be better.  When you are doing a bad job and no one points it out to you, that is when they have given up on you.
  • Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.
  • Good parents are instrumental for us to achieve our childhood dreams.
  • The importance of people versus things (people come first, always!).
  • Never ever underestimate the importance of having fun.  Choose to have fun today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter.
  • Work and play well with others: (1) tell the truth, (2) apologize (properly), (3) wait, and people will show their good sides.
  • Tell the truth – integrity.
  • A good apology has three parts.  (a) I am sorry, (b) it was my fault, (c) how do I make it right.  Most people neglect the third part and fail to demonstrate sincerity.
  • Be patience.  No one is pure evil.
  • Show gratitude.
  • Don’t complain, just work harder.
  • If you lead your life the right way, if you live properly, the dreams will come to you.

The YouTube video can be viewed by clicking here.

My book review: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch – A Lecture from the Heart to Whom He Loves